Ba liom an leasrún so do chur ós comhair an Tighe:—
Section 2, sub-section (3). To insert before the sub-section two new sub-sections as follows:—
(3) The Board shall not, nor shall any authorised undertaker, lay any such lines above ground along or across any street or road or erect any posts, poles or other erections in any street or road situate within any county borough or urban district except with the consent of the local authority or body having the control of the streets within such county borough or urban district.
(4) Where any difference arises between the Board or an authorised undertaker and a local authority or body having the control of any street or road in consequence of the refusal of such local authority or body to consent to the laying of any such lines or to the erection of any such post, pole, or other erection, such difference may be settled on the application of the Board or authorised undertaker, made after due notice to the local authority or body having control of the street or road, by a district justice of the District Court in whose district such street or road is situate, who shall have power to overrule such refusal or to confirm it absolutely or subject to such terms and conditions as he shall think proper.
This amendment appears on the Order Paper in the name of Senator Mrs. Clarke and in my name. I was sorry that I had not an opportunity of getting into contact with Senator O'Neill, because he is a member of the Dublin Municipal Council, which discussed this question and approved of our moving this amendment. I should like his name to be also appended to the amendment but I was not in a position to get into contact with him. In this amendment we merely seek to ensure that the same power will be retained by local authorities as they possess under the Posts and Telegraph Acts. Dublin has, unquestionably, paid its price for this electricity undertaking. I do not know what the attitude of Dublin ratepayers who are members of the Seanad was when the Bill in connection with the electricity undertaking was passing through this House but, unquestionably, the Dublin electricity supply undertaking was confiscated. No compensation whatever was paid. At that time, the people had no representatives on the Municipal Council. The City Commissioners were then in control and, I think, no protest was raised. I am not aware that members of this House raised any protest, either. Senators are aware that unsightly poles have been erected in different parts of the city. This question was raised in the Dáil by Deputy Tom Kelly, who is also a member of the Dublin Municipal Council. I happened to be a member of a sub-committee which interviewed members of the Electricity Supply Board in connection with this whole matter. They consented to the cessation of the erection of these unsightly, tarred poles which are disfiguring the city. They are not going to put up any more of these. They have promised to put up, instead, some class of iron poles. Furthermore, where there are terraces, they will run the wires from those poles along the eaves of the houses. They agreed that after five years, the whole question should be reviewed. When the electricity scheme for Dublin was established by the Dublin Corporation, it was an underground service. Whilst we are not exactly asking that that system should again obtain, we are seeking in this amendment to impose some check on the disfigurement of the city—that the Electricity Supply Board should not get, so to speak, unbridled control of the city. The Telegraph Acts provide that the Department, before tearing up the streets, should have the consent of the local authority. In this amendment, we are asking that that should continue and that, if any dispute arises, it be referred to the district justice for his opinion.
I do not know whether the Minister for Industry and Commerce will accept the amendment or not. He, like us, has a duty to discharge to Dublin citizens. He is the senior public representative of South Dublin City. He is not, perhaps, senior in years and he is not, perhaps, senior in the public service but he is senior in public esteem because of the fact that, at the last Dáil Election, he got the highest number of votes of any candidate in South Dublin City. I do not know whether or not the Minister will be disposed to agree to this amendment. I hope he will. We, representing Dublin citizens, see the reasonableness of it. We are asking for no more authority than was given by the British Government in the Telegraph Acts.